MIT’s floating roboats can shapeshift autonomously to form different platforms on the surface of the water for use as bridges or stages.
Developed with Amsterdam’s network of canals in mind, the MIT Roboats are equipped with thrusters and other control features that enable them to travel on the water and dock and lock with each other. Thanks to a new control algorithm, the Roboats have now been updated with a ‘shapeshift’ ability that allows them to autonomously form into different shapes, such as stages or bridges, which can adapt as needed to transport people or allow boats to pass through.
According to MIT professor Carlo Ratti, “This will be the world’s first bridge comprised of a fleet of autonomous boats. A regular bridge would be super expensive, because you have boats going through, so you’d need to have a mechanical bridge that opens up or a very high bridge. But we can connect two sides of canal [by using] autonomous boats that become dynamic, responsive architecture that float on the water.”
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